Archbishop Gomez Should Step Down

Archbishop Gomez has been named by the Archbishop of Canterbury to chair the group working on an Anglican Covenant. The “Covenant Design Group” is charged with moving the discussion of an Anglican Covenant forward. Suggestions and ideas are being solicited from around the Communion.

The assumption is that the Chair would be open to a variety of materials being presented and would not have strong prior ownership of any particular proposals being brought forward. In the case of Archbishop Gomez this assumption may prove false.

The Archbishop is on the Global South Primates Steering Committee. Members of that Committee are:

President: Most Rev’d Peter J. Akinola, Primate of All Nigeria
General Secretary: The Most Rev’d John Chew, Bishop of Singapore
Treasurer: The Rt. Rev’d Mouneer Anis, Bishop of Diocese of Egypt
Most Rev’d Emmanuel Kolini, Province of Rwanda
Most Rev’d Drexel Gomez, the Province of the West Indies
Most Rev’d Bernard Malango, Province of Central Africa
Most Rev’d Gregory Venables, the Province of the Southern Cone.

This Steering Committee has, along with the Primates of that group, served in sometimes questionable ways as the “voice” of the Global South Anglicans. It has been a group committed to action on the part of the Anglican Communion and its various instrumentalities to bring the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada to trial and dismissal from the Communion, assuming a form of Covenant that does not now exist and at the same time pushing for its establishment. They have gone so far as to suggest that if the current instrumentalities of the Anglican Communion are unable to do so, they will proceed to act to jettison the Episcopal Church in favor of another entity in the United States. In all this the Steering Committee has shown that it already has a well formed idea of what the Anglican Covenant ought to look like.

The Steering Committee has commissioned a task force on an Anglican Covenant which, according to the Kigali Communiqué, is hard at work putting together a Covenant it will present. Said the Primates in the Communiqué, “We are delighted to affirm the extraordinary progress made by the Global South task group on developing an Anglican Covenant. For the past year they have labored on this important task and we look forward to submitting the result of their labor to the rest of the Communion.”

At the same time, Archbishop Gomez has soundly criticized the Panel of Reference’s statement on New Westminster in effect dismissing its conclusions as inadequate to the “political and theological reality of the situation in which the applicants find themselves. Consequently, in my opinion, the recommendations of the Panel do not respond adequately to the real situation.” How can the Archbishop remain open to a variety of concerns about the political and theological life of the Anglican Communion when he dismisses views on political and theological matters that do not reach a conclusion that he agrees with?

The Archbishop has been a major contributor to the effort to call the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada to task for their actions, often using arguments that assume a polity and force for Anglican “instruments” that ought not be assumed in assessing the widest views of Anglicans concerned with the notion of covenant. It is unclear to me that the Archbishop is able to sufficently distance himself from his partner primates in the Global South or the specifics of the vision he has of the Anglican Communion and its supposed polity to be able to serve the wider Communion.

I believe Archbishop Gomez will not be able to chair this Covenant Design Group with sufficient even handedness. He should step down.


  1. I often disagree with you Father, but in this I couldn't agree more. Gomez++ is an outspoken leader of the 'Reasserter' or 'Conservative' wing -- and his chairmanship of the Covenant committee spoils it for me. I've long believed Windsor was right in calling for a covenant -- but not along neo-Calvinistic confessional lines. With Gomez++ at the helm of the steering committee, I don't trust at all that the covenant will be the kind of thing I think Windsor is really calling for.

  2. Gomez++ is on the Global South Steering committee which has several members in active disregard of Windsor -- Akinola, Venables, Kolini -- are all engaged in or supported massive diocesan border crossings left and right.

  3. I agree, Gomez++ should step down and be replaced by one of the Primates of the Global Center, such as Barahona++ of IARCA or Araújo++ of Brazil.

  4. IF Cantur wanted a fair committee chair, then you have a point -- he erred. It appears however that the archbishop significantly anti-American. And his treatment of Fr. John makes it possible to ask if he has a backbone. And, finally, he knew who he was appointing.

    So, I predict, even though you are entirerly correct, nothing will happen. Having abandonded his friend, and having the record of cowadice demonstrated by ++Griswald and ++elect Jefferts Shori as they forced that amazingly dishonest closing ressolution up our throats before him, what makes us think he will stumble into integrity? The man has caved to the bullies, and so did General Convention.


    Why shouldn't the non-Global South think being bullies work?


  5. I agree, Gomez++ should step down and be replaced by one of the Primates of the Global Center, such as Barahona++ of IARCA or Araújo++ of Brazil.

    I agree with that too, but that wouldn't work.

    They would say that Bp. Barahona took part of +Gene Robinson's consecration.

    They would also say that Bp. Andrade (Bp. Orlando Araújo is no longer Brazil's primate), during his mandate as the Bishop of Brasília, has received about 1/3 of Recife's clergy and parishes, who requested alternative episcopal oversight, fearing Cavalcanti's persecution.

    Both have also been loud voices defending gay rights. They would say that too...

    So, we have a deadlock here, I guess...

  6. BTW, just a note: the newly created Diocese of Amazon just had its first bishop consecrated last night, at the Cathedral of Saint Mary, in Belém do Pará, Brazil.

    The Bishop-Elect, the Rev. Saulo Barros was consecrated by the Most Rev. Maurício Andrade, PB of Brazil, the Rt. Rev. Jubal Neves, Bishop of Santa Maria and by the Rt. Rev. Mark Sisk, Bishop of New York.

  7. Appointing Archbishop Gomez as chair of the Covenant Committee also opens him up to the possibility of failure before the whole communion. After all, the covenant will still need to be approved, and if it is too conservative it could be rejected by about half the communion. Up til now the conservatives have not had such control of any part of the Windsor process and so have been able to sit back and complain more easily. With Archbishop Gomez in charge they will find that more difficult.


  8. Jon has a point. Unless you want to leave a certain group out of the process, sooner or later one of their number will have to be given some responsibility. This applies whether you are talking about opposing factions on a school fete committee, a government or any large international body. It is part of keeping everybody talking and giving everyone a stake in the process.
    For every Carnley you get a Gomez. Unless you want to assume a split is inevitable, that is.

  9. obadiah, you have a point. Moreover, Gomez has published his arguments in his book, unlike so many of his compatriots; and so if we need to challenge him we can challenge him on substance, and expect him to reflect rationally. I don't agree with Gomez on these issues, but it's a step beyond many of the other voices from that corner of the debate.

    Now, whether he should have declined, since his positions were so clearly known, could be discussed. Now, Cantuar might have considered someone from Central America, where the statement said, "We don't absolutely agree with either pole, and we will talk to anyone." And one might argue that Cantuar didn't have to appoint a Primate; although if bishops are most likely to listen to bishops first, primates might not accept a diocesan ordinary.

    Still, I agree: there's not likely anyone to choose who's not already influenced one way or the other. And, I don't think we'd be better served by someone who's been silent to this point but may be no less polar than Gomez.

  10. Mark, is something wrong with your web site or is it me? I click on "9 comments" and only the first one comes us. When I go back,it says "1 comment". Quelle pain in the neck! Then, when the latest article came up, about not being for sale, I clicked on the 1 comment, read it, went back, and the whole article was gone! Don't know if you'll get this but I hope you do. And thanks for all your articles!
    Lois Keen

  11. Marshall, you have a point.

    Just thought I'd join the chorus of "point" pointer-outers (plus, I like his point).

    In the ideal world, Mark, we'd have bias-free archbishops. But if we were in the ideal world, we wouldn't need archbishops (of course, many feel we don't need them here either).

  12. Marshall said "Moreover, Gomez has published his arguments in his book, unlike so many of his compatriots"

    Sorry, but I don't understand. Why should a substantial number of Dr Gomez's compatriots have written books? Come to think of it, I don't know which West Indian country he's from or who his compatriots would be.

  13. Hopefully no one here believes that to have well thought out positions that have been committed to writing makes a person biased, non-objective, or unable to listen to others. Having a well thought out position on these issues, and being willing to defend and teach that position, is the responsibility of every bishop in the church, regardless of which side of the debate they are on. The question of bias and an unwillingness to respectfully listen to others hinges on a different question, the evaluation of a person's character. If Gomez is unwilling to respectfully listen to others appointed to serve with him, that would be a character flaw (although I have no evidence that such a flaw exists). But such a flaw would be a separate problem and not the logical result of having thought about the issues in advance and spoken to them.


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.